Tag Archives: 2020

Record annual slump for UK economy in 2020 – but should Johnson be slammed for it?

Johnson’s blunders: he made promise after promise – and mistake after mistake. And the UK’s economy suffered.

Yes he should, although it may have seemed a tricky one to call.

The simple fact is that the UK’s economy was bound to suffer in the year of Covid-19.

Business – and school – closures were inevitable. Even though Johnson didn’t want to do it, eventually he had to.

And that’s part of the reason he should be blamed: he had to be dragged into every correct decision he made – and usually too late to prevent some harm from being done.

His lockdowns were only ever partial (so not really lockdowns at all), and he pulled out of them too early.

We recently learned that he ignored scientific advice to do so.

He diverted commercial contracts connected with tackling the virus away from experts in order to hand billions of pounds to friends of the Conservative Party who knew little or nothing about the work they were being asked to do.

Test and trace work, to quote a much-criticised example, suffered badly because he put an ex-jockey in charge, who didn’t realise that a virus can mutate – something that seven-year-old children read in school textbooks.

As a result of all this, the pandemic affected the UK far more than it might otherwise have, and the economic effect was worse, as we can see:

The UK economy shrank by a record 9.9% last year as coronavirus restrictions hit output, official figures show.

The contraction in 2020 “was more than twice as much as the previous largest annual fall on record”, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Muddying the issue is the fact that previous governments had dismantled the UK’s ability to cope with a pandemic infection over many years. But Boris Johnson was part of some of those governments, so he still can’t dodge some of the responsibility.

And, because it is a deadly infection, we don’t know how many people were likely to have been infected – or died – if Johnson had acted more responsibly… or indeed if he hadn’t bothered to do anything at all.

So we don’t know what would have happened in either a worst- or best-case scenario.

So we are left with the knowledge that the economy was going to suffer in 2020, no matter what.

But Johnson did not act fast enough to minimise the damage – and his choices were either wrong or, on the rare occasions they were right, delayed.

We don’t know how badly the economy would have been affected in different circumstances.

But it’s a fair bet that it would have fared better if Johnson’s choices had been wiser.

Source: UK economy suffered record annual slump in 2020 – BBC News

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Today’s news headlines – what should they really be?

As a sort of intellectual exercise, I’ve just been through Twitter looking at what the main talking-points were, and comparing them with the BBC’s headlines.

It seems to me that the headlines should be:

  • Keir Starmer has provoked Labour groups across the UK to launch ‘no confidence’ votes in his leadership after banning discussion of the way he has mistreated Jeremy Corbyn.
  • Rishi Sunak dubbed “Richie” after it was revealed his wife is richer than the Queen and he omitted this from his list of financial interests.
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg declares that the government is using taxpayers’ money to boost the economy, while failing to declare the income of his own business or to pay taxes on its profits (he has based it in a tax haven).
  • Nadia Whittome, an apparently left-wing Labour MP, criticised for verbally attacking left-wingers in her own constituency party.

But the BBC reckons they are:

  • Hospitals are warning that they could be overwhelmed without a stronger ‘tier’ system to define Covid-19 risk in England. (Isn’t this a story about Boris Johnson’s lockdown failing?)
  • Michel Barnier arrives in the UK for facemask-to-facemask Brexit talks.
  • Public sector urged to be open about its use of computer modelling algorithms.
  • Boris Johnson appoints new chief of staff.

Some of those BBC reports are of fairly wide importance but shouldn’t the BBC be reporting what interests people, too? Is Auntie trying to divert us away from the problems of Labour’s right-wing would-be-dictator and the corruption inherent in Conservative ministers?

What do you think?

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Yes, 2020 may be tough under the Tories – so the rest of us will have to be CLEVER

Jeremy Corbyn (here helping the homeless at Christmas): he wants Labour’s 10 million supporters to form a “resistance” against Boris Johnson. But British people are notoriously apathetic in the face of right-wing oppression. Can you be bothered?

Jeremy Corbyn is right to warn that the New Year will be difficult for struggling families who are being abandoned by the Tories now they’ve got the election win they wanted.

But it need not be as hard as Boris Johnson wants it to be; we just have to use our brains, co-operate, and turn their plans against them.

And I’m sorry to say that we also need to be aware of Tory fifth-columnists who’ll be trying to undermine the left-wing resistance from within.

Putting to one side the rhetoric about “tough times” and “resistance” against Boris Johnson, we should consider the hard issues that we all face.

Mr Corbyn mentions the climate crisis. Boris Johnson will do nothing about this as the deal he wants with the USA depends upon him refusing to accept that it exists.

So people here will have to find their own answers.

These will involve rejecting fossil fuel-powered solutions that are presented to us and turning to greener answers – that we may have to find, and fund, ourselves. This will be “tough”, as Mr Corbyn says.

But not impossible, if we all work together. We may be able to enlist international help, too.

We cannot expect the systems of government to work for us in the immediate future, so we have to use other means, within the Tory system, to get what we want.

Instead of accepting a role as victims, we need to behave like victors – seize opportunities to get what we want and reject unwanted demands that the Tories foist upon us.

An obvious example is the plan to push chlorine-washed, diseased American meat on us as part of a trade deal with the USA.

Boris Johnson can put it in front of us but we don’t have to eat it; we can simply say, “Where was this sourced? Was it chlorine-washed? No thanks. I’d like healthy food.”

Do it long enough, and in solidarity with enough other people, and they’ll have to give up. It will be an economic necessity.

And that’s how it will have to work for the next few years.

You can be a part of that movement, or you can roll over and be Johnson’s plaything for the rest of forever – which won’t be very long if the climate change predictions are accurate – or you can make a difference.

It’s 2020 – time for a sharper vision. What will yours be?

Source: Jeremy Corbyn admits 2020 ‘will be tough’ in New Year’s message after Labour’s election defeat | inews

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Rail fares to rise yet again – this time by 2.8 per cent

This is more evidence to support Labour’s plan to re-nationalise the UK’s railways.

Regulated train fares are set to rise by 2.8 per cent next year, in line with the July rate of Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation.

Commuters from the new transport secretary’s constituency will pay an extra £84 a year to get to work in London from the start of 2020.

Grant Shapps is MP for Welwyn Hatfield. From January next year, the price of an annual season ticket from Welwyn Garden City to London will rise from £3,016 to £3,100.

Source: Rail fares set to rise by 2.8% in 2020 | The Independent

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Iain Duncan Smith’s latest foolishness: He no longer uses poverty to measure poverty

Brierfield in Lancashire where nearly 35% of children live in poverty and just over 50% are classed as poor according to reach by the End Child Poverty Campaign.

Brierfield in Lancashire, where nearly 35 per cent of children live in poverty and just over half are classed as poor according to research by the End Child Poverty Campaign.

We all knew this was coming because we have a Conservative Government whose policies have been intended to increase poverty since 2010 – while apparently working to eliminate child poverty by 2020.

It simply couldn’t be done, and now the Gentleman Ranker, Iain Duncan Smith, has admitted it.

This is not a failure by the Conservative Government – it is a mark of its success in increasing poverty while fooling people into believing that they are better-off being ruled by a gang of greedy, selfish, chinless toffs.

RTU’s (Returned To Unit – an Army term denoting uselessness that we use to describe IDS) move to abolish the elimination target and change the way poverty is defined – away from the internationally-recognised measure which considers anybody earning less than 60 per cent of median pay to be in poverty – has been attacked by, of all people, Alan Milburn.

This as-good-as-Tory quisling in the Labour Party pointed out that it was “not credible to try and improve the life chances of the poor without acknowledging the most obvious symptom of poverty – lack of money.

“Abolishing the legal targets doesn’t make the issue of child poverty go away… The key issue is less how child poverty is measured and more how it is tackled.”

Duncan Smith won’t care. He’s dreaming of poorhouses.

And he gets his script from the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

According to fellow blog Zelo Street, the TPAs former chief spinner Susie Squire went through the revolving door to become a special advisor for SNLR (Services No Longer Required – we have many alternative acronyms for IDS). “Then, by complete coincidence you understand, he had his brilliant idea of doing away with the 60% target.”

Zelo Street continues: “And so Duncan Cough told the world about his new targets: “Worklessness measures will identify the proportion of children living in workless households and the proportion of children in long-term workless households … The educational attainment measures will focus on GCSE attainment for all pupils and for particularly disadvantaged pupils”. This is total horses**t. Unemployed single parents mean poverty [according to Duncan Smith]. Equally less well off working couples with children mean otherwise.

“And then there is the education criterion. By the time GCSE attainment is calculated, the system will have long ago failed those being studied.”

Tory followers will be putting all the weight of their fat mouths behind this, so expect some seriously dull-witted inanities from the usual suspects over the next few days. Zelo Street singled out Chinless Tim Montgomerie, who tweeted: “Big moment from IDS. Rejecting Left’s materialistic idea of poverty for broader understanding of basis of a good life” and then pointed out: “It’s got sweet Fanny Adams to do with the Left, materialism, understanding, or ideas.”

It does have a lot to do with hate.

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